The mother of Stanford law professor Sam Bankman-Fried once wrote an article titled “Beyond Blame.”
Barbara Fried asked what would happen if the focus was on problem solving and not accountability.
His son Sam Bankman-Fried co-founded FTX, which filed for bankruptcy last week.
A series of essays written by Sam Bankman-Fried’s mother have come to light following the collapse of FTX, the crypto exchange he co-founded.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last week and Bankman-Fried says it is working to raise $8 billion to repay FTX’s many customers and creditors.
His mother is Barbara Fried, a former lawyer who has taught at Stanford Law School since 1987.
She wrote articles for the Boston Review, a quarterly political and literary magazine, saying that assigning “personal blame” in times of crisis had “ruined criminal justice and economic policy”, suggesting it was “time to move past the blame”.
“The fact that we got so little in return for our blame at least opens up the possibility that people are receptive to a new approach,” she wrote in 2013.
“The next time something goes terribly wrong, suppose that instead of immediately asking who is to blame, we were to ask: How can we fix this problem?”
Fried declined to comment when contacted by Insider for this article.
In a recent Twitter DM exchange with Vox reporter Kelsey Piper, Bankman-Fried suggested that his calls for crypto market regulation were publicity stunts and that he didn’t believe his own rhetoric about the need to behave ethically.
And at the request of Vox If his colleague Nishad Singh’s reported guilt for losing depositors’ money explained Singh’s remorse, Bankman-Fried replied, “The world is never so black and white. I feel bad for those who have fuck with that.”
In another 2013 essay for the Boston Review titled “The Limits of Personal Responsibility”, Fried argued that a better world was achievable “if only we could stop arguing about who is to blame for who we are in.” we find”.
The academic championed the idea of risk in a world where personal responsibility had its limits, saying ‘a world in which everyone is maximally risk averse is a world none of us want to live in’ .
“Instead of trying to change the public understanding of personal responsibility, we can try to change the subject to the collective benefits (in this case, economic prosperity) that could come from solving the problems we face,” he said. writes Fried.
Discussing emotional empathy, she suggested: “Intuition may well have a constructive role to play in the political sphere, particularly when we believe that the tools for rational decision-making are unreliable.
“But until people learn to think more systematically and holistically about the consequences of different courses of action, even just the consequences for them, we will continue to invest in the wrong policies.”
Fried’s writing is tied to his family’s belief in “effective altruism,” a movement that uses calculations to figure out how people can use their time, money, and resources to better help others, putting emphasis on the ends of an individual’s actions justifying the means to achieve them.
Its detractors argue that effective altruism can overlook the harmful results of such action.
Some have questioned whether Bankman-Fried somehow prioritized the expansion of FTX, given its belief in the benefits of cryptocurrencies, above all other considerations.
Indeed, in his exchanges with Piper, Bankman-Fried looked at his downfall through the prism of a calculation, where his efforts added up to bring down the company: “Each individual decision seemed right and I didn’t surrender account of the importance of their sum. until the end.”
The Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and Department of Justice are expected to investigate FTX for potential mismanagement of customer funds. The SEC is also reportedly investigating Bankman-Fried himself.
Prior to FTX’s collapse, the crypto exchange reportedly transferred billions of dollars in client funds to Bankman-Fried’s trading firm, Alameda Research.
New FTX CEO John Ray made a scathing assessment of the company under Bankman-Fried, describing “a complete failure of corporate controls”, pointing to a divergence in thinking from the former CEO who may have -be contributed to its downfall.
“A month ago I was one of the biggest fundraisers in the world. Now I’m just a wreck of it,” Bankman-Fried told Vox.
“But there is one thing about having fallen – there are people who know what it is and want to do for someone else what no one has done for them.”
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